SOME HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN ARMY SUPPORT TO THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ANTARCTIC ANNUAL EXPEDITIONS

In 1948 the First Australian Annual expedition to Southern Islands was transported by the Navy Ship the Waterhen to set up Met Stations and to Study the Wild Life. They attempted to land with boats and pontoons on Heard Island surrounded by reefs and a
heavy pounding surf. Needless to say the result was a disaster - most equipment was lost and very little made it to shore.

An astute RAASC Captain Laurie Stooke who had operated DUKWs around New Guinea during WW2 pointed out that DUKWs would be the ideal craft to affect a proper landing on Heard Island and Macquarie Island.

Thus began the Australian Army support to each annual expedition. This continued until the mid 80s when ANARE acquired LARCS from the Australian Army to have crews trained by the Army and operate themselves.

I made two trips 1965/66 and 1966/67 each trip starting in mid November and finishing mid March. The first trip of about two weeks was to take three DUKwS to Macquarie Island and unload - after which we returned to Melbourne for about 10 days before re-embarking for the long trip to Wilkes then around to Mawson, Davis etc (about 14000 miles). The Nella Dan embarked two DUKWs for this trip.

A second ship the Thala Dan with the other two DUKWs sailed to DuMont Deville (with French Personnel mixed with Australian) then to its final destination Wilkes/REPSTAT a shorter trip of about 6 weeks.

The Australian Army was paid $32 per month with operator for each DUKW. Each Army personnel received 25 cents hard lying allowance per day - the helicopter crew with us received $20 per day.

A great trip nevertheless and fantastic experience. A pity the Army no longer participates.



HOBART, TASMANIA en route to MACQUARIE ISLAND in ANTARCTICA



The contributor, COL JIM DOOHAN, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN CORPS of TRANSPORT, at MAWSON, ANTARCTICA with 300 ice cliffs behind



DUKW arriving at the base CASEY. Note the ice chains!



Morning work party coming ashore from the support vessel 'Nellie Dan'



Going down the ice ramp at Wiles Antarctica Dec 1964



Following an onboard fire, Jim Doohan re-dressing after a forced immersion to undertake emergency repairs



The lame DUKW being towed ashore



Returning to the support vessel from a last visit to Macquarie Island



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